Tips on Teaching Heel - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Tips on Teaching Heel

Anyone have a tips or tricks used to teach the heel with the watch/eye contact? We are having a little trouble with it and wanted to see what others did to teach it. She watches in the basic position but as soon as we take the first step she either comes with me and looses the eye contact or she sits there and watches me move without her.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 08:52 PM
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 09:21 PM
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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She is only 7 months old and that's part of my problem... her attention span is very small haha She's my first schutzhund dog and i'm training with a trainer but I was just curious of what others did to get their dogs to heel. We just started working on it and I know we'll get it sometime

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 09:45 PM
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when i taught my dog to heel i shortened the leash
or used a short leash for better control. with my dog on
my left side i would guide him to a heel position. i would take
a few steps and say "heel" while keeping him in a heel position.
when we stopped i always lead off with a giant step with
my left leg. when i wanted my dog to stay i always lead off
with a giant step with my right leg and say "stay". at some point
my dog learned when i lead off with my left leg he follows holding
a "heel" without a command. when i lead off with my right leg
he "stays" without a command. i taught my dog to heel
on either side with or without a leash. when i want my dog to switch
sides i say "other side". to get my dog to switch sides all i did
was say "other side". i would say "other side" and pass the leash
behind my back from my left hand to my right hand while guiding
my dog to the "other side".
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 09:57 PM
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I use a combination of training the dog to sit in heel position and maintain focus under distractions and what (I think....) Art is saying. When I'm actually *moving* I try to have a good pace and be lively. This is hard for me since I can be kind of a dull, blah trainer but I find that if I make more of a point to march forward and show some power in how I walk, my dogs naturally show more focus and animation in their heeling. Some of the best advice I've gotten for heeling is 1) march forward like you KNOW your dog is right there with you and 2) if you think you are walking fast enough, walk faster!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
I use a combination of training the dog to sit in heel position and maintain focus under distractions and what (I think....) Art is saying. When I'm actually *moving* I try to have a good pace and be lively. This is hard for me since I can be kind of a dull, blah trainer but I find that if I make more of a point to march forward and show some power in how I walk, my dogs naturally show more focus and animation in their heeling. Some of the best advice I've gotten for heeling is 1) march forward like you KNOW your dog is right there with you and 2) if you think you are walking fast enough, walk faster!
The bolded part has helped me a ton! Your pup is still young too, so don't get too discouraged yet.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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I have the same problem of being a little dull especially to her. We have been doing a lot of her sitting in the heel position with focus but very little distractions. I know she's young and i'm very happy with what she is already able to do!

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 10:34 PM
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These are things I've learned in the last few years:

Reward often(toys/tug are better than treats after the luring stage is over).
March, trot, slow pace, change up your rhythm some to keep the pup thinking 'what is my handler going to do next?' which will keep the focus a bit better.
Turns usually will lose a puppy, so turning into instead of away from the pup, early in the learning stages.

But....as the dog learns, expect a bit more...ask for 3 'ups' or 3 'looks' before rewarding.
Engagement,ethic and happy enthusiasm go together, so try to balance the work ethic with enthusiasm. And end the session before pup checks out, on a good note/or change what you are doing~retrieve or low jumps then back to a bit of heeling. Keep it fun!
And I like to put the puppy up in the crate for processing the session, especially if you are teaching something new. Don't do much fetch or play after a session, give pup a 5-10 minute crate time to think, then back out for a play break.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 12:06 PM
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I asked age since what I would do depends on how far along the dog is in training. How have you taught her to heel? Food lure, toy lure, compulsion, etc?

For the first part, her not moving with you, I would work on heel starts. I will say "heel" and either toss a toy, throw a piece of food, or just take a big step with a piece of food reward. This teaches the dog to drive off the rear when they start and also teaches them that the "heel" command is fun. I also throw the release command in there as I go to reward them. I say "heel", take one step, release/throw/or reach forward with food.

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